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Converting PDFs

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by JaxShooter, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    I have about a DVD full of preparedness books and manuals that I'd love to convert from PDF to some ebook format (epub, mobi, etc) for use on my Kindle. The Kindle handles native PDF format but you can't scale the fonts and end up doing a lot of scrolling.

    Nearly every conversion I've tried has grossly increased the file size. Most PDFs seem to be scanned images rather than text which causes this problem.

    I'd like to OCR the files but so far the stuff I've found either does a poor job which leads to a lot of manual corrections or only does a page at a time instead of processing the complete document.

    I was wondering if anyone else has tried this and if so have you found a viable solution?
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Adobe reader can OCR image PDFs. I think it's under document. Works well.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Hmm, I'm on 8 and don't see it. I'll check for a later version. Tnx.
  4. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    Try using the "Save as Text" command under file and then use an eBook converter...that was the best way I found when I put Unintended Consequences on the Kindle...
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR

    I'm not by a computer and don't remember if this on Adobe Reader or Standard. Openoffice.org writer has some good PDF tools.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Try copy/paste into Word, might be an easier way to put them in useful format. BTW, pdf is a real space saver, that's one of its advantages. But it saves coding by not allowing changes.

    (I think.)
  7. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    It looks like it was part of 8.1 and not 8. And now that I've updated to X I can't find it. Guess I'll roll back. :)

    ETA: Found it under File -> Save As -> Text.

    Seems to work but the files would need some cleanup to make things flow properly. Looks like this'll be a work in progress.

    I'll have to see if it's feasible to do a copy/paste. There is a PDF to Word converter I haven't tried. I could possibly use that to convert to RTF and then convert that to the e-reader formats. PDF is nice and if it were scalable that'd be fine. In my experience, though, the font size is very small and the scrolling gets old fast.
  8. awesomelynn

    awesomelynn Monkey+

    I tried a pdf to word converter called anybizsoft. It works.b::
  9. dkmcgarry

    dkmcgarry Monkey+

    For anyone looking to convert other Ereader formats, such as Epub, for use on the Kindle, try Calibre software. It's a free download. Just google Calibre. I've only tried it a couple of times but it seems to work pretty well.
  10. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Awesome, I downloaded that at work and did a couple of files. Looks like I'd still need to spend a lot of time tweaking the resulting files but I'm going to play with it some more.

    Calibre is what I use to maintain the library but it's not good for converting PDFs. It's excellent for converting between text, epub, mobi, etc. Unfortunately, though, as I mentioned previously, most PDFs are scanned images and just get 1000x larger when converted.
  11. eeyore

    eeyore Monkey++

    The way i do it, is just take a file, then print it using "dopdf". This is how i create pdf's. Not really tech savy, but simple works for me.

    Download PDF converter doPDF and create PDF for free

  12. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    On a Mac, it is just a "Print Option" to create a PDF from whatever is on the screen.....
  13. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Well, that'd be all find and dandy if I were trying to create PDFs but I'm not. I'm trying to convert PDFs that I have to other, more e-reader friendly formats.
  14. Gray Bear

    Gray Bear Monkey+++

    Download Calibre. It will do what you want it to do. I use it all the time when I find books I want that aren't in Kindle format.

    Calibre will convert things to Mobi for Kindle, or Epub for Nook, just for examples. The only limit is if the book in question has DRM, than Calibre won't do the conversion.
  15. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Yes, Calibre will convert PDF to other formats. However, the problem lays in how the PDF was created. Most of the older books are scanned images. So here are a few examples to demonstrate what I'm trying to overcome.

    Where There Is No Doctor
    PDF = 54MB
    MOBI = 510MB

    WHO Basic Lab
    PDF = 14MB
    MOBI = 347MB

    NATO Emergency War Surgery
    PDF = 25MB
    MOBI = 144MB

    Now this isn't always the case, but as you can see in most every conversion the resulting file is exponentially larger than the source. There are some that go the right direction but these are few and far between.

    Management of Dead Bodies in a Disaster
    PDF = 782KB
    MOBI = 546KB

    Wound Closure Manual
    PDF = 1231KB
    MOBI = 1098KB
  16. Gray Bear

    Gray Bear Monkey+++

    I don't have the answer to that, but I have seen smaller copies of both "Where there is no..." books.

    In the 6 to 8 meg range, for what that's worth.

    It doesn't solve your immediate problem, though. I wonder if just leaving them as PDFs would work for you? The Kindle 3 can handle PDFs much better than the earlier versions.

    The scanned origin may be a problem there, too.
  17. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    I certainly wasn't expecting the gross increase in size. My issue with the Kindle's native PDF support is that you can't control the font size like you can with other formats and I find that I end up having to zoom in/out and/or scroll to read which makes it cumbersome. Maybe I need to play with it some more, though.
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